Tripartite Project Preparation and Implementation Unit (PPIU)
Location: Suite 3, Nkhata House, Plot 32251, Thabo Mbeki Road, Lusaka, Zambia
Tel. No. 260 211 233 396/7
In pursuit of the broader objectives of the African Union to accelerate economic integration of the continent, with the aim to achieve economic growth, reduce poverty and attain sustainable economic development, the Tripartite Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) met in Kampala, Uganda on 22nd October 2008.
The Tripartite Summit agreed on a programme of harmonisation of trading arrangements amongst the three RECs, free movement of business persons, and joint implementation of inter-regional infrastructure programmes as well as institutional arrangements on the basis of which the three RECs would foster cooperation.
The COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite recognised that regional trade liberalisation initiatives, on their own, cannot have the desired effects in terms of promoting economic growth and poverty reduction. Inadequate investment in infrastructure, services and utilities, coupled with skills deficiency and inappropriate reforms of the regulatory regimes among others, have led to depressed socio-economic development. Enhancing physical interconnectivity, therefore, is an important factor in speeding up development and facilitating inter-regional trade. Moreover, providing adequate infrastructure that can be accessed by the poor is certainly a critical component of an overall poverty reduction strategy.
With rapid globalization and the integration of regional markets, roads, aviation and railway networks can no longer be limited within national boundaries if they are to spur inter-regional trade and development. This is particularly important in the three RECs, where many countries are geographically contiguous and landlocked. Adequate road and railways infrastructure, for instance, is critically important for countries in the three RECs, to strengthen economic links among themselves and with other countries in Africa.
The critical shortage of power remains another major constraint to economic development. To this end, additional power generation capacity and inter-connected transmission infrastructure are needed to meet the growing power needs of the region and to facilitate power trade between countries and cross-border investments.
The development of telecommunications infrastructure and services, in this digital era, where countries face the challenge of survival amidst rapidly changing technologies as well as the opportunity of jumpstarting development by pursuing knowledge - and ICT-based activities, is vital. The last decade has shown the critical importance of the telecommunications sector, not only as a growth industry itself, but also as an enabler for other economic activities, boosting trade and enhancing the remote communities’ access to information, thereby empowering them to participate more closely in the development process.
Estimates on annual investment level currently required by the Eastern and Southern African region to construct and improve physical infrastructure are in the order of US$40 billion (covering various priority projects and programmes in roads, railways, maritime transport, civil aviation, ICT and energy) which have been identified for funding in order to enhance regional infrastructure networks. The three RECs, therefore, faces a formidable challenge of financing the development of the infrastructure crucial to promoting growth and reducing poverty. This calls for urgent and diversified joint mobilisation of financial and technical resources.
Recent studies have shown that, in order to close the infrastructure gap and achieve national development targets in Africa within 10 years, an annual spending of $93 billion would be required, with almost half of this needed to boost Africa’s power supply. Africa is already spending $45 billion a year on infrastructure, much of this coming from domestic sources. It is estimated that a more efficient use of existing resources can release an additional $17.4 billion in finance for infrastructure every year which leaves a funding gap of US$31 billion.
In the recent past COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite has put emphasis on co-ordinating, promoting, development and implementation of joint regional infrastructure in transport, communications and energy. The COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite has identified a number of areas where infrastructure needs to be improved and where there is a need for new infrastructure. It has done this using mainly a corridor approach. Priority trade and transport corridors in the Tripartite region have been identified and the REC Secretariats, in conjunction with IFIs, DFIs and donor-financed aid programmes, have been designing policy, trade facilitation and infrastructural interventions along the corridors with the aim of reducing the costs of cross-border transactions along the corridors. More achievements have been realised in the area of policy and regulatory harmonisation and trade and transport facilitation instruments than in the physical infrastructure development.
As part of the efforts to raise the funds that are needed to improve surface transport infrastructure, the Tripartite has established the Tripartite Trust Account (TTA). The TTA is a grant-funded account that is held by the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and DBSA is the Account Manager. The TTA is used as a fund to leverage other monies, these being other grants, concessionary loans or commercial loans, to finance infrastructure projects along corridors.
However, there still remains the challenge of identifying projects along the trade and transport corridors and packaging these projects so that, when implemented in sequence, they result in a reduction in the costs of trading across borders. To this end, the Tripartite established the Project Preparation and Implementation Unit (PPIU) to coordinate, manage, monitor and evaluate project implementation in order to fast track and increase the successful delivery of projects with a view to close the infrastructure gap.
The PPIU, which is hosted by the COMESA Secretariat at its Head Quarters in Lusaka, Zambia - on behalf of the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite, is part of the Tripartite Coordinating Secretariat as provide under Article 6, clause 6, on the Establishment of the Tripartite Coordination mechanism and Meetings of the Tripartite, of the Memorandum of Understanding on Inter Regional Cooperation and Integration amongst COMEASA, EAC and SADC.
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The main objective of the PPIU shall be to identify and define projects with the Sponsor and ensure that the project is designed to meet the objectives, delivered on time, to budget and to required quality, sequence implementation, to assist in securing funds for implementation and to assist with the management, monitoring and evaluation of project implementation.
To achieve the above, the PPIU shall specifically be responsible for the following:
i) Project Identification and Definition
Assist the Project Sponsor (PS), Executing Agency (EA) or Implementing Agency (IA) in identifying priority projects and defining/setting the project objectives in line with the strategic plan and ensure that appropriate resources are committed and resolve issues where necessary.
ii) Project Management
Assist the Project sponsors with project management including detailed design of works and specification of equipment and materials or supervision of design consultants, vendors and other external suppliers; direct supervision of works, and administration of procurement, contract supervision, monitoring and evaluation, and reporting to the Sponsors.
iii) Project Administration
Assists the Sponsor or Executing Agencies with other technical and administrative tasks such as finance, accounting, managing workshops, study tours and training courses as well as other technical tasks, if these are not done by the regular EA or IA.
iv) Management Information System (MIS)
Develop and Implement a Management Information system including keeping project records and logs of project’s risks, issues, progress and achievements. In addition develop and maintain Tripartite priority regional infrastructure projects in GIS maps based on Tripartite infrastructure Master Plans and depicting among others major regional transport corridors, ICT networks and Energy grids.
v) Communications strategy
Develop and implement a communications strategy to liaise and coordinate with project stakeholders such as the Tripartite, Member States, Donors, DIFIs, Industry/Private Sector, etc including developing close linkages and network among different Tripartite and other agencies as well as a reporting plan to the Tripartite and project Sponsors.
vi) Monitoring and Evaluation
The PPIU will carry out detailed monitoring of the implementation of projects, making sure that they meet pre-set targets and, when the projects move off-target, take steps to get the projects back on target.